Institute for Learning

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Rights and conditions
30 November 2016
Ahead of government announcements and changes to legislation, IfL has stated that it is to become a voluntary body.

A statement on the IfL website reads:

"Further education is changing and the Institute for Learning is moving with the times. IfL is returning to its roots as a voluntary independent professional membership body for teachers and trainers in further education and skills." See the IfL website for more details.

ATL recognises that regulations around IfL and CPD needed to change, but would insist that we must continue to work on the issue of professionalism across all educational sectors. As 'the education union' ATL wishes to promote the professionalism of teachers and lecturers, help develop expertise and research, and articulate the views of members to national stakeholders and in schools, colleges and universities.

ATL will work with all those who want to develop opportunities for ATL members, who want to make an impact on the working lives of our members for the better, and who have the interests of teaching and learning at heart. We do believe we will return to the issue of how to establish a credible and legitimate independent professional body in the post 16 sector in the future, a body that will change members' lives and help develop their professional status in a way they would want.

Review of professionalism in FE

The first phase of the independent panel's review of professionalism in the FE sector, headed by Lord Lingfield, has concluded with the result being that IfL is to become a voluntary body from September, 2012. The requirement to be a member has now ended and members who have paid any fees following the panel's conclusions today can be reimbursed. The details of reimbursement will follow via IfL.

The review has been welcomed by ATL and we are particularly pleased that the recommendations and deliberations given are in agreement with ATL's views of how professionalism can be developed in the sector. The review conclusions were made up of the following points:

  • there are further issues to be considered around vocational teaching, and working context, that must be considered in order to progress professionalism in the sector
  • a proposal to embed 30 hours of CPD into government contracts for the sector
  • that the current qualification suite is inadequate
  • that the extended period of post qualifying 'professional formation' is unfair on FE lecturers compared to school teachers' qualified status
  • that the associated teacher role has not been effective
  • the recognition of the difficulties sixth form staff faced post 2007 workforce regulations around professionalism
  • the need to support a model of professionalism that has some academic and theoretical rigour
  • the practice of professionalism in the sector will now be supported by LSIS (Learning Skills and Improvement Service).

How professional practice will be embedded in the sector to match members' expectations and their roles will now be the focus of the second phase of the review panel that will conclude in July. ATL welcomes members' views on any ideas or practice that would support sustainable and effective professional development for staff.

If you have any suggestions, or are concerned with any messages you receive from the IfL or college management on these matters, contact Norman Crowther.

Members are reminded that IFL activities regarding registration, renewals of membership and payment of fees, are still suspended until the panel reviewing professionalism in the sector have produced their findings, made their recommendations, and the minister has agreed them. This status quo was agreed by the department for Business, Skills and Innovation, IfL, Association of Colleges, and the trade unions in August 2011.